Customs officers in £5million drug swoop

REVENUE and Customs officers in Ipswich were celebrating today after two Dutch women were found guilty of attempting to smuggle heroin worth £5million into East Anglia.

REVENUE and Customs officers in Ipswich were celebrating today after two Dutch women were found guilty of attempting to smuggle heroin worth £5million into East Anglia.

Sisters Jacquline Merceij, 39, and Manon Merceij, 45, were caught trying to traffic 114 kilos of heroin into the UK through the port of Harwich.

They were found guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court and have been remanded in custody pending sentencing.

During the two-week trial the court heard that on June 25 last year, officers stopped a white van on the ferry from the Hook of Holland.

When officers opened the back doors they found heroin hidden inside old furniture.

John Kay, revenue and custom's head of Criminal Investigation for the East, said: “The vigilance and expertise of officers has succeeded in detecting this huge quantity of illegal drugs.

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“Drug smuggling is a very serious offence that has a significant and damaging effect on all our communities.

“We will do everything in our power to disrupt those smuggling drugs into the UK so that they can be effectively prosecuted by the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office.”

Mr Kay urged anyone with any information on illegal activity to telephone the 24-hour hotline on 0800 595000.

Jacquline Merceij, of Burger Meester, Teijssenstraat, and Monique Merceij, of Nicholas van Putten Loon, will be sentenced in due course.

n. Do you think enough is being done to stop drugs getting into the UK? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk